During a stroke, every minute counts. Every minute a stroke is left untreated, up to two million brain cells die.
Earlier this year, Lovelace Medical Center set a record-breaking time of administering tPA, a medication used to treat ischemic strokes, within 12 minutes of the patient arriving at the facility.
The 62-year-old patient was experiencing facial droop, left sided weakness and slurred speech, and was transported to Lovelace Medical Center by Albuquerque EMS.
“We were in a situation where the patient wasn’t able to communicate with us,” explained Lovelace Medical Center stroke unit manager, Jolavon Romero. “But because of the strong collaboration between Albuquerque EMS and our staff, we were able to determine that the patient qualified for the drug and we did something that we have never done before.”
Lovelace Medical Center's highly-trained stroke team saved the patient’s life by acting quickly and administering the life-saving drug while the patient was still in the CT room.
“We always have to bring patients with stroke symptoms in for a CT scan immediately, and if they qualify for tPA, we typically do so in the emergency room. But the faster you treat patients, the better outcome they have. Every minute that passes, brain cells are dying.”
According to Romero, teamwork between Lovelace’s stroke unit and the Albuquerque EMS team led to a successful outcome for the patient.
“The EMS team did everything they were supposed to do, including all of the mandatory assessments for stroke patients, so our team was ready for the patient upon arrival,” said Romero. “We didn’t delay care. It was unbelievable and the patient was able to walk out of the hospital.”
News of the facility’s record-breaking time quickly spread throughout the hospital.
“This was a huge success for Lovelace Medical Center, for the patient and for everybody who was involved,” explained Romero.
“The communication between EMS and our team was so important because there are a lot of steps involved when treating stroke. Teamwork is always critical in these situations. I am so proud of our team and everyone who was involved.”
Time is brain when it comes to treating stroke, which is why it’s critical to recognize the signs and symptoms and seek treatment as soon as possible. If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms of stroke, you should call 911 immediately, even if the symptoms cease on their own.
To view our Lovelace ER wait times, click here.